‘EXCELLENT’ RAMS BOOST WASSALL
Darren’s men see off slick Terriers
DARREN WASSALL reckons Derby are hitting their straps at just the right time after seeeing off stylish Huddersfield.
A goal in each half by Chris Martin and substitute Johnny Russell sealed victory over opponents who showed their own exciting potential. After their third win in four matches, Derby look good for at least a play-off spot while Huddersfield have too much quality to be dragged into a relegation battle.
“We have 11 cup finals coming up but I’m pleased with two successive home clean sheets and our recent victories,” said Wassall.
“With matches against QPR and Rotherham coming up, it was important we bounced back and we scored two great goals.
“There were some excellent performances, including Tom Ince who could have had a hat-trick.
“Huge credit to Huddersfield too. They started better than us and they are a good passing side. They didn’t surprise us because they have dominated possession in their last five matches.”
Huddersfield played delightful football but Derby carried the more direct threat and eventually won with plenty to spare. And they had the game’s outstanding threat in Ince, who twice hit the woodwork in a lively display.
Both halves began with the visitors knocking on the door before the Rams got the goal to turn the tide their way.
Both sides had a sight of goal within four minutes. Cyrus Christie did well to block Harry Bunn’s shot before Nick Blackman slid his shot wide from eight yards.
Richard Keogh’s miskick just over his own bar caused a few flutters in home ranks and Jamie Paterson, on loan from Forest, and Joe Lolley were both off target.
Manager David Wagner appears to be getting the best out of Paterson, whose skill on the ball is suited to a position just behind a lone striker. He caused Derby problems before fading in the second half. Lolley, too, was a frequent threat although striker Nahki Wells never got a sniff.
The flip side of Huddersfield’s slick football was a tendency to give the ball away in their own half. Such a mistake was snaffled on by Jacob Butterfield and Ince’s angled shot was deflected onto a post in the 26th minute.
There was no reprieve five minutes later, however, when Christie crossed precisely for Martin to plant a fine header beyond goalkeeper Jed Steer for his 12th goal of the season.
Paterson brought the best out of Scott Carson in the 39th minute and also wasted Huddersfield’s best chance with a weak shot just after the break.
And Derby regained the initiative with Steer saving from Martin and Ince before the winger blasted a 25-yarder against the bar.
The contest was as good as over in the 73rd minute when Russell’s left- foot shot from the edge of the area left Steer helpless.
Wagner spoke about Huddersfield’s identity after the game and remained confident their passing style will produce points.
“We had chances early in both halves through Harry Bunn and Jamie Paterson but I have no complaints,” he said. “Derby needed to produce one of their best performances to beat us and they did. Small, key areas decided the game and went for Derby.
“It’s important we trust and believe in ourselves and our ideas – sometimes they will get us results, sometimes not.
“We know we need points because our present total isn’t enough to stay in the Championship. My task also is to find out whether it is experience or quality that we are missing, then address that in the summer.”
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